Matt Harvey’s fastball, Josh Edgin’s relief, R.A. Dickey’s streak

Matt Harvey sure looked ready for prime time last night. In his major league debut, Harvey pitched 5.1 scoreless innings, did not allow a run and broke Tom Seaver’s franchise record for strikeouts in a debut. And for good measure, Harvey went 2-for-2 at the plate with a double. He finished the night with 11 strikeouts and it was fun to watch a Mets starter blow the ball past opposing hitters.

According to Brooks Baseball, Harvey averaged 94.88 miles per hour with his four-seam fastball and topped out at 98. According to FanGraphs, here are the average fastball velocities for the other starters for the Mets this season:

Niese – 90.6
Gee – 90.2
Santana – 88.4
Young – 84.4
Dickey – 83.4

FanGraphs does not distinguish between two and four-seam fastballs, and as Harvey had two fastballs that weren’t four-seamers, his overall FG fastball velocity will be a few ticks lower. Still, this is a substantial difference in velocity.

The 2012 leaderboards show 17 qualified starters with an average fastball velocity of 93 and above. Roughly, every other team should have a guy who brings the big-time heat. Now with Harvey, the Mets have a starter that throws gas. Not only is it unusual for the Mets this season, it’s something no pitcher with at least five starts has done for the Mets since they started tracking velocity in 2002. Mike Pelfrey averaged 92.7 with his fastball in 2008 but in that season he averaged 4.93 K/9 and did not have a double-digit strikeout performance.

EDGIN PROVIDES RELIEF – After giving up runs in two of his first three appearances with the Mets, Josh Edgin has delivered six straight scoreless outings, including Thursday night when he came on for Harvey with one out and two on and kept the shutout intact. In his last six games, Edgin has 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB and 8 Ks. In that span he has a 14 percent swinging strike rate. Edgin was drafted the same year as Harvey and gives the Mets two pitchers on their staff from the 2010 Draft, the last by Omar Minaya.

NIEUWENHUIS CONTINUES TO STRUGGLEKirk Nieuwenhuis did not start Thursday night with the Diamondbacks throwing a lefty. But he came on as a pinch-hitter against a righty reliever and struck out. In the month of July, Nieuwenhuis has fanned 14 times in 37 PA for a 37.8 K%. It has been tough to watch him struggle after he did so well when he first came up. But overall Nieuwenhuis is performing exactly as he was projected to do in the preseason. Here’s the proof:

  PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K%
ZiPS 479 .238 .304 .398 8.1 29.0
Actual 309 .255 .317 .381 7.8 30.7

DICKEY’S STREAK SNAPPEDR.A. Dickey lost for the first time since April 18. His 16 straight starts without a loss ranks as the third-longest single-season undefeated streak by a Mets starter in franchise history. Here are the leaders:

18 – 1985 Dwight Gooden
17 – 2008 Johan Santana
16 – 2012 Dickey
14 – 2007 Tom Glavine
14 – 2006 Glavine
14 – 1989 David Cone

DAVIS HAS HR BUT NOT PRODUCTIONIke Davis is tied for seventh among first basemen in the majors with 16 homers. But there is more to being a productive player, even for a player at a corner position, than hitting home runs. Davis has a (-0.5) fWAR and ranks 21st out of 24 qualified first basemen in the majors this season.

CEDENO VIES FOR MORE PT – When the Mets signed Ronny Cedeno in the offseason, he figured to provide quality depth at the middle infield positions. He has done that and more, exceeding expectations at the plate. Cedeno has excelled against LHP, with a .326/.367/.500 line in 49 PA versus southpaws this season. He got some starts at second base against lefties, but with Daniel Murphy breaking out of his slump those chances figure to dry out.

Perhaps the Mets could sub Cedeno for Davis against LHP. Davis seems helpless against any lefty with a breaking ball and has a .602 OPS this year versus southpaws. For awhile, the Mets used Justin Turner at first base when the opposing team started a lefty, but Turner was lacking at both the field and in the batter’s box, with just a .550 OPS against southpaws.

UGLY JULY – Thursday night’s win upped the Mets’ record in July to 5-15. If they maintain that .250 winning percentage, it would be the worst mark in a full month since August 2002, when the team went 6-21 for a .222 winning percentage.

9 comments for “Matt Harvey’s fastball, Josh Edgin’s relief, R.A. Dickey’s streak

  1. jerseymet
    July 27, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Cedeno is not part of the 2014 team. He should be played and traded before he walks at the end of this season.

    • July 27, 2012 at 10:33 am

      I would welcome back Cedeno if he would sign a similar contract that he did for this year. I don’t think he’s going to do that. I also have no trouble trading him but I would be shocked if he had much trade value.

      • David Groveman
        July 27, 2012 at 10:35 am

        Could probably (and will probably) see Lutz up to play 1st occaisionally after the AAA season ends.

  2. steevy
    July 27, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Of course Ike rates near the bottom with the awful start he had.Kirk always struck out too much,even when he was hitting well(and in his minor league career),he’s probably a platoon/4th outfielder type.Edgin was a guy I was hoping to see get a chance.Justin Turner is a utility man,nothing more.The Mets should trade Hairston to a contender for a grade C prospect and replace him with Satin or Lutz.

  3. Metsense
    July 27, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Harvey was a revelation last night but I’ll always despair why he wasn’t on the mound vs the Dodgers instead of Batista. Oh well. If Kirk doesn’t learn to identify and layoff certain pitches he will be looking at a 4th outfield position (or worse) in the future. Loved the ZiPs forecast and hope you use it more often in your articles. Turner (a favorite of mine)isn’t a first baseman, and with Cedeno as a very qualified mid inf backup, his job security is tenuous. I think Lutz should be brought up to see how he handles the majors (and his status on the 40 man roster) but again Turner is in the way. The elephant in the room is Bay, who I feel will be moved off the roster very soon.

  4. Stephen Basile
    July 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Glad to see I was wrong about Matt Harvey being brought up too soon.

  5. Chris F
    July 28, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Bay is a major issue. If he didn’t bat right, would he have any perceived value?

  6. Chris F
    July 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Awesome game for Harvey…didn’t want to forget to get that in!

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